20150927 – We Drive A Tree Hugger Mobile – Awful; Our Home Exchange in Black Mountain

Sunday – hot, very humid and sunny.


Fall Free Falls

Fall Free Falls

Gamy leg major step forward. I can now do a yoga Tree pose on my gamy leg. Really useful. I suppose it may help me blend in with the trillion other trees around here if we encounter a bear.

The plan for the day is a stroll around Blue Ridge. Some lunch for Wendy then a trip out to Morganton Point and a walk by the lake. You’d think it’d be around the lake but alas that’ll wear me walking poles down to nothing, it’s over 100 miles around.

Have the stroll. Interesting how, even here in the land of the mighty greenback, the more religious emporiums sacrifice a good days takings. Lunch at Danielles was a real trial. Great food but OMG I think they must have sent to Paris (well there is a picture of the Eiffel tower on their sign) for the food judging by the length of time it took. After exploring everything on iPhone, even I got bored, it was a trip to the counter, a few choice sarcastic words. I just couldn’t resist, and then the food finally arrived. By which time Wendy was ready to chase and eat the tiny lizard, as severe malnutrition had set in. Oh and yes they may only work for tips, so my tip was, work for an organisation that has at least a minor sense of urgency.

As for the walk, no way, it was just too hot and humid.

A pleasant geriatrics sort of afternoon.

Sadly we’re getting a tad bored with this area. Lovely scenery but unless you’ve got a boat, or into serious walking, it lacks significant places to explore. After a while all these trees do start to get to you. No doubt in a few more weeks we’ll have the splendid autumnal colours.

Meaning: A low rumbling sound produced by the bowels.
Origin: 1880s
As in: Nothing worse than Wendy’s noisy curmuring whilst waiting for her lunch.

Parking fines:


Terrorism police are monitoring more than 3,000 homegrown Islamic extremists willing to carry out attacks in Britain. British men and women, many in their teens, are being radicalised to the point of violence within weeks, MI5 warned yesterday. Investigators have also detected a significant overlap between Islamist suspects and those suffering mental health problems, leaving them vulnerable to grooming. The NHS now has full-time staff attached to the anti-extremism Prevent programme who try to identify signs of extremist behaviour.

To sum up then they seem to be saying Islamic extremists are a bunch of nutters. Didn’t we all know that.


Monday – hot and sunny.


Who keeps turning the table cloth back? Spooky.

Who keeps turning the table cloth back? Spooky.

Decide on that drive out to Morgantown Point and a walk by the lake. Not really that impressive just a beach on the lake. Pass on the walk.

We decide to go to Fall Branch Falls. Come across a Pavement ends sign. A bit confusing as like most American roads there was no pavement, after all it is America and nobody walks anyway. What it really means is road ends and your on a dirt track from now on. After 10 miles of pretty good dirt track we follow the instructions to the Falls. Apparently they’re over the bridge and the parking lot is on the right. No it’s not, there’s no bridge and the parking lot is on the left. To add insult to stupidity there is a sign for the falls, but it’s well hidden up the path so you can’t see it from the road.

It must be a common feature of the Georgia’s tourist departments, they couldn’t organise a f..k in a brothel with a fist full of fifties. Poor directions; badly promoted; no one really gives a dam.

A common site round here, in “Dukes of Hazard” country, of some good old boys flying the confederate flag from the back of their souped up, giant tyre'd, high suspension, noisy pick up truck.

A common site round here, in “Dukes of Hazard” country, of some good old boys flying the confederate flag from the back of their souped up, giant tyre’d, high suspension, noisy pick up truck.

The falls are ok but really nothing to blog about.

Bit of a disappointing day.

Every time we go out the table cloth on the outside dining room table is turned back. Is it the wind? Doubt it, no wind around. Is it the squirrel? Is it a poltergeist? Is it a bear with OCD? I weighted the corner of the table cloth down to eliminate the wind. When we came back the other corner was turned back and some flowers were left in front of the door! Spooky and certainly not a quantum effect.

Meaning: Wonderful and extraordinary.
Origin: 1810s
As in: The Breaking Bad finale was every bit as monsterful as I’d hoped.

More crazy laws below the Mason Dixon line:

Though it is illegal to spit from a car or bus, citizens may spit from a truck.

It is illegal for a chicken to cross the road.

Cars are not to drive on sidewalks.

Erotic dancing is prohibited on Sundays.

The flooring of adult bookstores and video stores must be nonabsorbant and smooth textured.

No spitting on the sidewalk is permitted after dark.

Members of the Ku Klux Klan yell as they fly Confederate flags outside the statehouse in protest at its removal.

Members of the Ku Klux Klan yell as they fly Confederate flags outside the statehouse in protest at its removal.

Well here we are in the deep South, below the Mason Dixon line, and lo and behold those right wing fascists, the Klu Klux Klan are still around. One would have hoped it had withered and died like a dried up cow pat. What a lovely bunch of slobs (very judge mental I know) they all are, tattoos and swastikas on every piece of flesh and orifice. Fortunately the Klan today is small, weak, poorly led and largely looked down upon by other white supremacist groups, who see them as illiterate and unhelpful in the greater struggle. The Klan is about 4,000 members strong — down from a high of 4 million during the 1920s — with 23 chapters nationwide.
Even 3,500 miles away we get fed up of hearing all this hooha about British muslims being radicalised and trooping off to fight for ISIS. And to top it all America has its fair share.

Good riddance I say. Let’s lay on free flights for anyone who wants to go, but make sure we strip them of their British citizen ship; finger print them; get a DNA sample.

If we find their family has been involved in the radicalisation they should be shipped off with them. If it is further found that the mosque was involved then the inman should be sent packing to follow their converts and for good measure the mosque should be closed down. Soon solve the problem.


Tuesday – hot and sunny.


Black Mountain Home Exchange - open plan lounge complete with giant flat screen TV.

Black Mountain Home Exchange – open plan lounge complete with giant flat screen TV.

Drive up to Cleveland, Tennessee to pick up the Hertz Mobile.

Mr hertz has seen fit to offer me a choice of a Nissan, rather hire an arthritic donkey, or a tree hugger mobile (Toyota Prius). Made a big mistake and went for the Prius. A word of advice, don’t ever drive one – see rant below for reasons why not.

We were thinking we may have a wander around Cleveland but nothing to it, so settle for a Starbucks instead.

Open plan lounge.

Open plan lounge.

In the afternoon we, well Wendy mainly, cleans the house and packs, while I take the car to be washed and fuelled up. Collect a couple of Giant burgers from Sue’s a locals cafe that comes highly recommended. You can cut the local accent in there with a chain saw.

Meaning: The seemingly malevolent behaviour displayed by inanimate objects.
Origin: 1940s
As in: That water bottle looks like it wants to kill me. It exhibits resistentialism.

Life in the South:

    The proper pronunciation you learned in school is no longer proper.

    Open plan kitchen.

    Open plan kitchen.

    Be advised that “He needed killin” is a valid defense here.

    If you hear a Southerner exclaim, “Hey, y’all, watch this,” you should stay out of the way. These are likely to be the last words he’ll ever say.

    If there is the prediction of the slightest chance of even the smallest accumulation of snow, your presence is required at the local grocery store. It doesn’t matter whether you need anything or not. You just have to go there.

    When you come up on a person driving 15 mph down the middle of the road, remember that most folks learn to drive on a John Deere, and that is the proper speed and position for that vehicle.

    Do not be surprised to find that many 10-year-olds own their own shotguns, they are proficient marksmen, and their mammas taught them how to aim.

    In the South, we have found that the best way to grow a lush green lawn is to pour gravel on it and call it a driveway.

    If you do settle in the South and bear children, don’t think we will accept them as Southerners. After all, if the cat had kittens in the oven, we wouldn’t call ’em biscuits!

A list of just a few of the diabolical features of a Toyota Prius:

    The gear shift is counter intuitive.

    Open plan kitchen diner and lounge.

    Open plan kitchen diner and lounge.

    Put it in neutral and it stays in drive or reverse, nearly mowed down a grey haired old lady and destroyed another car.

    No cruise control. Probably the loopy greens are worried it will create too much CO2.

    I think it must be possessed as engine keeps cutting out, unnerving, ungodly.

    When you shut the door it’s amazing it doesn’t fall off, as you get to hear how tinny it is.

    When the engine does wake from its slumber you need ear defenders, it’s so noisy.

    Has all the speed, style, grace and acceleration of a three legged tortoise.

    When Wendy drives she needs a periscope to see over the bonnet.

    All round visibility makes my old SLK sports seem like a panoramic window on the world by comparison.

    Engine management system diagram drives you nuts.

On the plus side, for an American car, it’s fairly fuel efficient, but with a gallon of petrol costing just £1.20 who gives a CO2 molecule about global warming if you have to suffer this green tree hugger mobile.

Yes, we have become a society of cowards:


Wednesday – hot and sunny.


Formal dinning room.

Formal dinning room.

After a pleasant 3 hour drive – spoilt only by that rickety tree hugger mobile – down the side of the Smoky Mountains, a few trees on the way, we’ve arrived at our next home exchange in Black Mountain just outside Asheville, North Carolina.

It’s a lovely and homely (for the avoidance of any doubt that word is the highest compliment we could pay to a home) brick built bungalow. Very spacious. Immediately feel at home here.

Open plan front parlour.

Open plan front parlour.

After 2 weeks in a log cabin in the wilds of Blue Ridge it’s quite refreshing to be somewhere closer to civilisation. At last I get some civilised Internet, rather than electrons being delivered on the back of an arthritic donkey that needs a rest every few minutes. The nerd in me just loves 38Mbps with a 20Ms ping.

Just sat on the rocking chair watching the birds. Now all I need is for a bear to come and pose for a picture on the lawn below. Then it’s off down to the supermarket so Wendy can get her weekly fix. I suppose I’ll have to suffer another Starbucks.

Master bedroom with en-suite bathroom.

Master bedroom with en-suite bathroom.

Don’t I just love the free wifi everywhere, even in a supermarket. But sadly by the time I’d read the 21 pages of small print weasel words it was time to go.

Fantastic news, even got me up from my Starbucks coffee. This supermarket sells Hofbrau Oktoberfest and a few other decent German lagers. Now that’s a thirst for America. I’m orgasmic. Then to top it all we have the ultimate in checkout service. They take the goods out of your basket for scanning and a packer packs them and then offers to take them to the car. What’s more no tipping allowed. I’m impressed. How neat is all that? So is it Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury, Waitrose, Aldi or Lidl? No it’s Ingles, they understand customer service.

Back porch complete with an All American giant gas barbecue.

Back porch complete with an All American giant gas barbecue.

After a pleasant day the heavens open up for a right good frog strangler. To top it off, despite being in the driest time of the year round here, we discover that there’s five days of rain forecast – OMG even Blackburn’s not that bad.

Meaning: A wooden puppet, controlled by strings.
Origin: 1850s
As in: The president has no real power, he is a mere quockerwodger.

George Carlin on complaints and grievances. Full length show 70 minutes. If you’re not broad minded then don’t watch. Awesome stuff.


Back garden. Just waiting for the bear to come now.

Back garden. Just waiting for the bear to come now.

More crap from the EU. Never mind all helps in the “Get Out” argument.

We, the British taxpayers, face an extra European Union bill of £384 million (€519 million) next year after MEPs defied national governments and proposed to raise Brussels budgets.

National ministers agreed an EU budget for 2016 of €142.1 billion, yet now the European parliament’s budget committee has reversed the cuts and increased spending by €3 billion.

They’re out of control. Let’s get out. Let’s get back control. Let’s get back our sovereignty.

Richard Dawkins, a voice of reason:

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